Secondhand smoke, or environmental tobacco smoke is a combination of 2 types of smoke coming from burning cigarette or tobacco – the sidestream smoke, or the smoke coming from a lighted cigarette or pipe; and the mainstream smoke, or the smoke exhaled by smokers. If you think they are just the same, well they are not. Aside from the fact that it contains higher amount of cancer-causing agents, sidestream smoke also has smaller particles which can easily penetrate your lungs and other body cells.
When a person who is a non-smoker is exposed to secondhand smoke, this process is called passive smoking or involuntary smoking. A non-smoker who inhaled secondhand smoke receives nicotine and other toxic chemicals as smokers do. But the sad thing is, non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke are 25% more at risk of developing coronary heart diseases and lung cancer. They can be your wife, daughter, son, or anyone in your family or important friends. The pain seeing your love ones suffering from chronic lung and heart diseases is indescribable. This is the reason why more and more people are discouraging smoking in public.
If you can discourage and stop people from smoking in public places, there will be fewer children and non-smokers that will be exposed to the destructive effects of secondhand smoke. Whether you are a store owner, a student, a corporate employee, or an ordinary citizen, there are several ways to discourage smoking in public, even in your neighborhood.
Place NO-Smoking Signs
Put NO-smoking signs in places where smoking is prohibited. These areas are usually the places that people share in common such as public transportation, offices and other enclosed areas. You can use the universal “no-smoking” image, the one with a lit cigarette in a red circle with a line through it or that one with a lit cigarette that is crossed out. You may include wordings with the sign. Translation in other languages will be helpful too.
Make It Known to the Public
Bring to people’s consciousness any state or local legislation banning smoking in public. Many States have laws prohibiting smoking in building entrances and common places. You can print and distribute pamphlets and fliers to people especially to smokers. You can start in your neighborhood. You can even organize a local group to help you start an awareness campaign against smoking.
Lobby Your Concern
If your locality or state does not have any anti-smoking laws, you may want to ask lawmakers to enact a law prohibiting smoking in public places. It will be easier for you to discourage smokers if there is a law prohibiting such act.
Sponsor or Organize Awareness Campaign
Awareness campaign in places where smoking is rampant is another way to discourage smoking in public. Inviting motivational speakers to explain how smoking can affect their health and the lives of their love ones can bring to people’s consciousness the negative effects of smoking and the dangers of inhaling secondhand smoke.
Remove Things that Encourages Smoking
If you own or operate a commercial establishment, or you live in a tenement where ashtrays, benches and other things that make smoking convenient are installed, you may want to make a request to the building administrator to remove them. This is a way of telling smokers that they can no longer smoke in such places.
Maybe the best way to discourage smoking in public is to make it inconvenient and unacceptable to smoke in public. If we can do this, there will be fewer children and other non-smoker that will suffer from coronary diseases and cancers. And soon, we can create a smoke free-environment.